What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
Sixth Week of Ordinary Time: Feb. 16 - 22, 2014
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Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
On the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time we hear Matthew's Gospel. Jesus speaks to his followers about religious laws and also of our own relationships. Go to offer gifts to God at the altar, but first, Jesus says, “Leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Saturday is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle, with its own special readings.
The first reading for the next two weeks is from James. It begins with instruction for living our lives in Christ. “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?”
In Mark's Gospel the Pharisees are asking for a sign of Jesus' authenticity. Jesus warns his disciples not to be as unbelieving as the Pharisees in the face of the signs he has given them. Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida. When Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter says he is the Messiah. Jesus tells them to tell this to no one, because this isn't the full answer. Jesus tells them about his passion and death and resurrection. Peter rebukes Jesus for talking like this. Jesus rebukes Peter and begins to heal his disciples' blindness by teaching them the meaning of their discipleship: they, too, must carry their cross. To prepare them for the scandal of the cross Jesus lets Peter, James and John see his glory.
On the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time, Jesus gives us one of the biggest challenges to living the Christian life: Love Your Enemies. “I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.”
Daily Prayer This Week
This is a wonderful week to ask the question: “Who do you say I am?” This question can come to us this week in a variety of forms. We can hear him ask, “Who am I in your life? What do I mean to you? Do you believe in my love for you? Do you live as though you place all of your trust in me?” This kind of self-knowledge always takes grace, so we can ask each day this week to be more and more honest this week. We can ask to get beyond the denial out of which we sometimes operate. Each morning, when we get up, while washing up or dressing, and during several “background” times in our day - going to work, shopping, doing wash, walking to a meeting, feeding a baby - we can be in brief conversations with our Lord, always asking for graces.
“Help me to honestly know, Lord, what really is at the center of my life. What really motivates me? What do I turn to for energy, inspiration, approval, escape? How would the people who know me well answer these questions, Lord? Help me be honest this week.” “Lord, I have just recognized how much possessions or honors really motivate me.” “My Lord, I can see how fear, and avoiding pain have such power in my life.” “Lord, I'm so impatient; it seems I have such a hard time simply carrying any cross.”
It is quite likely that we might find it difficult to keep this kind of self examining focus during the week, or that we might so get into self recrimination and lose sight of God's love. It is a loved offered us right in that place of difficulty, a deep love that is ours, even when we can't recognize him or don't feel we are worthy to accept his love.
But he returns to us over and over, offering us his Spirit as a strength and love right here in our lives each day. When we feel weak we can remember that he comes to forgive us and heal us. All week, every night, let us give thanks and praise for his faithful love for us.
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